Starfruit is a special tropical fruit with a star shape. People often use it for decoration, but it’s not just pretty – it’s good to eat and has many health benefits. This fruit is also called carambola in non-English countries and it’s worth trying for more than just its looks.
What is starfruit?
Starfruit is a tropical fruit that comes from the carambola tree (Averrhoa carambola).
It’s a fruit with a unique star-like shape when sliced crosswise. It has a sweet and slightly tangy taste, making it a popular choice for both eating fresh and using in various culinary dishes.
Starfruit is native to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, but is now grown in many tropical and subtropical regions around the world. It’s cultivated in countries with warm climates, including parts of Asia, the Caribbean, South America, and Florida in the United States.
The carambola tree is an evergreen tree or shrub that can reach heights of up to 30 feet (9 meters). It has pinnate leaves and produces clusters of small, bell-shaped flowers. The fruit, starfruit, grows directly on the branches and has a distinctive star shape when sliced. Some of the largest producers of starfruit include countries like India, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Brazil.
How does starfruit taste like?
This exotic fruit has a sweet and slightly tangy flavor. The taste can vary depending on the ripeness; riper fruits tend to be sweeter.
Nutritional properties of starfruit
Starfruit offers a range of nutritional properties. Here are some of its key nutritional components:
- Vitamin C: Starfruit is a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports the immune system, skin health, and wound healing.
- Dietary Fiber: It contains dietary fiber, which aids digestion and can help maintain a feeling of fullness.
- Vitamin A: This fruit provides vitamin A, which is essential for eye health, immune function, and skin health.
- Folate: It contains folate (vitamin B9), important for cell division and the formation of DNA.
- Potassium: It has potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and supports heart health.
- Low in Calories: It’s relatively low in calories, making it a good option for those looking to manage their calorie intake.
- Phytonutrients: It contains various phytonutrients and antioxidants, which may have health benefits and help protect the body from oxidative stress.
Starfruit is hence indicated for its digestive and diuretic properties as well as having a strongly astringent action if the fruit is still immature.
Its intake also seems recommended for the benefits it can bring on minor ailments such as headaches, insomnia, nausea and cough.
Nutritional content of starfruit
The nutritional content of starfruit per 100 grams can vary slightly depending on the fruit’s ripeness and variety. However, on average, 100 grams of raw starfruit typically contains approximately:
- Calories: 31-35 calories
- Carbohydrates: 6-7 grams
- Dietary Fiber: 2-3 grams
- Sugars: 3-4 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: Less than 1 gram
- Vitamin C: 34-40 milligrams (about 57% of the recommended daily intake)
- Vitamin A: 67-73 international units (IU)
- Potassium: 133-143 milligrams
- Folate (Vitamin B9): 12-14 micrograms
How to eat starfruit
We recommend you to eat starfruit raw. It’s often used in fruit salads, smoothies, or as a garnish. When eating starfruit, you should slice it crosswise to reveal the star shape and remove any seeds.
It’s a really versatile ingredient, that can be also used to decorate cocktails and cakes, ice cream and savory dishes.
It’s essential to consume this tropical in moderation due to its high oxalate content, which can be harmful to individuals with kidney issues.
More on tropical fruits
If you are interested in strange fruits from distant countries, or unusual crosses, find here more information: